Five Tools for Youth Turkey Hunts
What's the best way to get a youngster into hunting?
I vote for a turkey hunt. States offer a special youth hunting season, giving youngsters first shot at a big ol’ gobbler. You'll need the right gear, but many of us have it lying around the house.
1) Ground Blind - The Primos Double Bull blind is what I rely upon when turkey hunting with my son. The durable cloth adds concealment and reduces noise, which helps when kids get antsy. Blinds like this one are packed away easily and come with great warranties. They offer great concealment too for those afternoon naps.
2) Slate Call and Chalk – This one is personal preference. It doesn’t matter what material you choose because you are going to take it out and hand it to your kid, INSTEAD of an iPad. You sit there worrying about being quiet and forget the experience. How else will they learn to interact with nature if you’re sitting there saying hush every two seconds. Let them scrape the call and be patient. I’ve seen a bunch of birds come running to a call, even if it’s at the hands of a seven-year-old.
3) Little Debbie Snacks, Lots of Little Debbie’s – I get it, sugar equals a copious amount of energy. Think of this part as building nostalgia in the future. Take a snack every time because they will recount those snacks and think of the times you spent with them in the woods. Trust me on this one. He always knows I have the same thing on a turkey hunt. Quick note: I take different snacks when we go fishing.
4) Bug Goo – A must for any turkey hunt. Luckily for us, Turkeys don’t have a nose like a whitetail so you can get away with anything. You don't need anything more than 50% DEET, and studies show the higher concentrations don't repel any more than a higher dose. Seriously, tick-borne diseases can get nasty and last forever. Treat clothing before setting boots to ground as well.
5) Manageable Weaponry – The first shotgun experience I had was an old .410 that didn’t kick like a mule. It was enjoyable, and I didn’t spend the next day sore and bruised. If you want to have a hunting partner for life don’t break out your Granddaddy’s single-shot 10 gauge. Keep it simple with an 11-87 or any 20 gauge with 7/8 ounce loads. This will be comfortable to shoot and manageable. Don’t forget to practice before.
Keep it safe and be patient. These kids are watching every step you take and are learning at astounding rates these days. If you find yourself sitting in the aisles of a big box store confused, take a step back and remember that years ago hunters killed more with less. If you can keep it simple and take the basics, you’ll hit the high point by just being there.